I just received notification from the American Enterprise Institute about a debate they have scheduled for March 13, 2013 that is in concert with America’s Future Foundation.
Let me back up a number of years to recall when I first became introduced to the American Enterprise Institute. I was publishing industry trade journals and watching the decline of manufacturing America. I was so alarmed that I sought organizations that appeared to be championing American enterprise, business and industry. AEI seemed just right in mission and purpose, and so I followed them.
I became active in other organizations such as the National Defense Industrial Association, the Association for Enterprise Information, and Aerospace Industries Association. All of them contribute to strengthening America’s economy, and all are struggling to accomplish that.
With regard to AEI, a right-leaning organization, the trouble that I see is their taking an ideological slant without focusing on an end-state result.
They say one of their close rivals is the Brookings Institute.
“Brookings has identified four substantive areas that we consider to be priorities meriting input from the Institution as a whole as we approach our centenary in 2016—energy and climate, global change, growth through innovation, and opportunity and well-being.”
A big difference between the two organizations is that Brookings seeks to address strategic subjects and AEI seeks to advance conservative ideology.
To all, I suggest focusing on how America can achieve a sustainable economy. Start with end state outcomes defined from a citizen’s perspective. Then, explain how the end-state will be accomplished in the context of our democratic republic and Constitution and with a public and private partnership.
Winners are the ones that can describe how, not just what needs to be done.
I will follow and report the outcome of the AEI “debate,” but without the proper focus, I am guarded.
“HOW SHOULD THE CONSERVATIVE MOVEMENT EVOLVE?
The conservative movement is in an identity crisis. What went wrong, and what can be done to avoid another electoral defeat? Two main solutions have emerged: upgrade the message or overhaul the policy. As Tevi Troy has noted, the GOP ran a “safe campaign” in 2012, failing to present a “cogent vision for conservatism” and dooming the right to a “communications vacuum” gleefully filled by the left. Consequently, exit polls revealed that 81 percent of voters felt Mitt Romney didn’t care about them.
But as Peter Wehner has pointed out, the Republican Party may need more than better messaging to reach struggling Americans. Declining social mobility, extensive corporate welfare, changes to family structure, and other emergent issues require innovative solutions. In this American Enterprise Debate, cosponsored with America’s Future Foundation, Troy and Wehner will explore competing ideas for moving conservatism forward. AEI’s Ramesh Ponnuru will moderate.”